August 23, 2014 Late ’60s & early ’70s German Psychedelic Rock and Kosmische

Welcome to the second Global Psychedelia show on WEFT 90.1 and streaming live at weft.org.  I’m your host, THE NEW ELASTIC INFINITE, and today’s show will explore electronic, electric, and acoustic psychedelic music from Germany between the years of 1968 and 1973.  These diverse musics were unfairly pinned under the single racist epithet “Krautrock” by the British media (namely NME and Melody Maker), but was known by its varied practitioners as “Kosmische Musik”.  The music here is all cosmic, and ranges from the near ambient electronic music of Popol Vuh and Cluster to the proto-metal of Epitaph and Cannabis India, from the free-improvisational freakOut! of the inceptive Amon Düül and late Xhol to the psychedelic space and rock of Amon Düül II, Ash Ra Temple, and CAN.  It might be unfair of me not to mention the informative book Krautrocksampler by Julian Cope.  Good luck getting it for anything under $50.  Rock Geek William G. tipped me off to a pdf version that was floating around the interwebs a few months back, so if you know me personally and want to get your hands on a copy let me know.  Free information!

Without further ado, today’s playlist is:

Playlist: Band (hotlink) – Album – Song Title – Year

Amon Düül II – Phallus Dei – Kanaan – 1969

Next to Yeti and Tanz der Leminger (Carnival of Babylon has some great tracks, too) this is my favorite Amon Düül II album. It has been rereleased multiple times on CD and Vinyl, so pick up a copy for some heavy listening.

Agitation Free – 2nd – First Communication – 1973

Such a fantastic mix of Kosmische and psychedelic rock.  Agitation Free never released a bad album, so check them all out: Malesch, 2nd, and, Last.  They only released these three albums until releasing a live album (Live ’74) in 1995, and reuniting to tour and make new material in 1999.

Bokaj Retsiem – Psychedelic Underground – I’m So Afraid – 1968

This album is weird, poppy, garagey, and psychedelic!  As far as I can tell, they only released this album (at least under this moniker).  The name Bokaj Retsiem is strange for a german psychedelic band, unless you read it backwards: Meister Jakob.

Guru Guru – Hinten – Electric Junk – 1971

There are so many good Guru Guru albums and songs, but I chose this because it has the feel of many periods of Guru Guru. If you tuned in and enjoyed the last show, or like contemporary Japanese psychedelia, you should check out the Acid Mothers Guru Guru albums.

Popol Vuh – In Den Gärten Pharaos – Kha-White Structures 1 – 1971

Popol Vuh is magic. Think Brian Eno’s albums after late 1975, The Taj Majal Travelers, and György Ligeti.

Xhol – Essen 1970 – “A” Freak-Out Blues – 1970

Soul Caravan–starting 0ut as a heavily American soul/funk influenced pop soul band in 1967 headed by American soul singers James Rhodes and Ronny Swinton–became Xhol Caravan in 1969 and made jazz heavy Kosmische that just got heavier and weirder until 1970 when they reached the essence of their free-improvisational jazz/blues/kosmische sound, and became Xhol.  A beautiful evolution.

Amon Düül – Collapsing – Booster (Kolkraben) – 1970

The first incarnation of Amon Düül, was a political art commune that experimented with free-improvisational music (and living!), and recorded a few sessions between 1968 and 1969 which were subsequently released as new albums (without the band’s consent, I read). As per an article in Mojo Magazine, the Amon Düül pianist and percussionist Wolfgang Krischke died around 1969, freezing to death while “under the influence” of LSD.

Ash Ra Tempel – Starring Rosi – Day-Dream – 1973

I know, there are way better Ash Ra Tempel albums than this, but my partner and I love this song.  We live in rainbow land.

Cannabis India – SWF Session – Revolver – 1973

Pianist/Organist and Universe founder Oliver Petry’s first band.  I know, it’s great, but unfortunately this is the only album they ever released (2009 on Long Hair Records).

Deuter – D – Der Turm/Fluchpunkt – 1971

What a great musician the Falkenhagen, Germany born Deuter is.  This is his first album, and is quite eclectic compared to his later work.  All of Deuter’s music focuses on spiritual themes, and exists in wholly electronic, biomusic, and aleatoric music.

CAN – Ege Bamyasi – Soup – 1972

Ah, Can. One could write a whole book on Can … and they have!  It’s called The Can Book and it’s written by Can’s/Kraftwerk’s very own Pascal Bussey, and Andy Hall.  You can check out an excerpt about Can from the book Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock by our favorite music critic to hate, Jim DeRogatis.  Thanks for posting this Jim!

Faust – Faust – Meadow Meal – 1971

These guys are all over the place.  I can’t pin them down from album to album.  This, their first full length, is my favorite though.  It has a great mix of electronic and psychedelic/avant-garde rock that I love about most Kosmische bands.

Friedhof – Friedhof – ? – ?

Hmmm, well, this means “cemetery” in German.  It’s also sometimes a last name. Not even Julian Cope knows anything about this album.  It rocks.

Cluster – Cluster II – Für Die Katz’ – 1972

Cluster is, with Neu!, Popol Vuh, and The Cosmic Jokers, my favorite synth/electronic heavy Kosmische band ever.  They’ve put out a steady stream of great albums from 1971 to 2009.  Maybe they’ll even put out another, who knows.  Also, if you like post ’75 Eno, check out the 1977 Cluster & Eno album.

Epitaph – Epitaph – I’m Trying – 1971

This is called proto-metal, but it sounds like metal to me, hands-down.  It’s also a great psychedelic rock album.  This, their debut, has been rereleased, but still isn’t easy to find for a good price.  You can listen to it on Youtube.  If you read German, you’ll know a lot more than I do about this band, who kept making music up through 2009.

Golem – Orion Awakes – Stellar Launch – 1973

This album was finally published by the archival imprint Lion Productions, and was one of those long lost “Krautrock” albums unearthed after Julian Cope published the Krautrocksampler, and the world started to dig the music again.  You can read a ton about the story of this band, and this album, in the liner notes.  I’ll be playing more albums from Lion Productions on other shows (can’t wait for psychedelic Peru!).

Necronomicon – Tips zum Selbstmord – Tips zum Selbstmord – 1972

Yep, this means “How to commit suicide.”  That sounds dark, but this album is not!  Necronomicon formed in Aachen, Germany in 1971 and named themselves after the H. P. Lovecraft grimoire.  Although some say the band may have been together and playing through 1981, they only ever released this one album–in a limited print of 500 copies.  In 1996 the Little Wing of Refugees label rereleased it with extra material.  On the Necronomicon website (official/unofficial?), news of a found tape from 1973 surfaced:

In June 2014 a tape with the recording of a NECONOMICON concert from 1973 (Neue Galerie, Altes Kurhaus Aachen) was discovered in the archives of the Aachen Ludwig-Forum museum of modern arts. The record comprises live versions of all songs from “Tips zum Selbstmord” plus two songs lost since then with the titles “Die Stadt 2. Teil” (a continuation of the song “Die Stadt”) and “Overture”, an instrumental song specifically composed for this concert. Stereo quality is rather good and might be suited as foundation for a publication . NECRONOMICON report at http://www.ragazzi.de

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”

German Oak – German Oak – Raid Over Dusseldorf – 1972

This album was recorded in a Luftschutzbunker, or Air Raid Shelter, in Düsseldorf-hamm – and it kind of sounds like it.  But what a fantastic album of super heavy free-imporisational funkadelic psych rock!  Again, Julian Cope talks about this band on his blog “Head Heritage” (that someone needs to update).

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